Norwegian Berries

norwegian_berriesThe growing season in Norway is fairly short, so only certain fruits can thrive. One of the better suited fruits are berries, thanks to the cooler summer weather and long daylight hours. So it should come as no surprise that Norwegians are wild about foraging and picking. Berry season begins in late June with strawberries and lasts through mid-October with black currants. Because of the brief season, berries that cannot be used immediately are frozen, or made into jam.

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Family Ties

A step-by-step guide to starting your own genealogical journey.

family_ties.jpgWidely considered to be among the most popular and fastest-growing hobbies in the United States, genealogy was a $2.3 billion industry in 2012, and it is expected to grow another 36 percent by 2020. According to, 60 percent of Americans have researched their own genealogy and some 15 million Americans use the Internet every month in pursuit of their own family histories. It seems that more and more people are indeed fascinated by the process of discovering and learning about their ancestors.

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St. Olaf’s Day

st-olaf.jpgJuly 29th marks Olsok, or St. Olaf’s Day in Norway and coincides with Olsokdagen, the official Flag Day in Norway, but it’s roots run much deeper. Originally celebrated to honor the King, and later Saint, Olaf, the day has more than 900 years of history behind it. Lavish feasts and pilgrimages have celebrated his name, but who was Olaf II of Norway and why are we celebrating him today?

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The Bunad

Rebecca-Larson_RThere is a something special about owning a bunad and wearing it on Syttende Mai, Norway’s National Day. Let’s take a look at some of the history behind Norway’s bunad. The traditional costume dates its roots back to the Norwegian Romantic Nationalism period in the mid-19th century when, at that time, Norway was determined to secure a solid cultural identity. The Norwegian bunad is unique in that it is recognizable as Norway’s official dress, but it is individualized based on regional characteristics of color, pattern, style, and accessories. Since the 19th century the traditional costume has developed with the modern age and Norwegians who are lucky enough to own a bunad are always proud to show it off at significant occasions like confirmations, weddings, funerals and National holidays.

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Antiques Roadshow

In the search for Norwegian antiques, great finds can be close to home.

antiques.jpgHere’s a distillation of 35 years of professional wisdom from Suzanne Kramer, an antique dealer who specializes in Scandinavian objects: “After I buy an object, I always, in an auction or a sale or whatever, seek out the oldest person there and try to get the stories from them, what they know about the family or the history.”

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Summertime Sandwiches

Serve up a Scandinavian twist at your next party with these traditional open-faced sandwiches, known as smørbrød.

summer_sandwiches.jpgSmørbrød, Norwegian for “butter bread,” has been a longtime staple in Scandinavian culture. When industrialization boomed in the 19th century, factory workers and farmers could no longer return home for lunch, so they packed open-faced sandwiches. They smeared rye bread with butter or animal fat and topped it with leftovers from the night before, including meat, vegetables and boiled potatoes. In the 1920s, more elaborate versions of the open-faced sandwiches started appearing at lavish dinner parties and restaurants. Today, this Scandinavian staple is being reinvented stateside as people and chefs think of modern ways to combine ingredients. Here, we feature three smørbrød recipes from award-winning food writer, editor and recipe developer Lynda Balslev. “When it’s hot outside, we often eat smørbrød as a light al fresco meal,” she says. “They make great appetizers for parties.” Paired with a cold beer or Aquavit, these sandwiches are sure to be a hit at your next summer gathering.

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What Did You Say?

what_did_you_say1.jpgWe examine the bewildering world of Norwegian Dialects.
Every student who has traveled to a foreign country has experienced the initial shock of speaking with the natives. Perhaps nowhere is this felt more acutely than in Norway. After months or years of classroom study, even the most confident students can be rendered speechless when traveling to Trøndelag and hearing their first Trøndersk, or experiencing a stream of guttural R’s in Bergen.

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Easter in Norway

The Norwegian’s idea of having a god påske consists of hiding away up in the mountains and enjoying the last available good snow for skiing in the early spring sunshine.

easter.jpgEaster is one of Norway’s biggest holidays, just as big as Christmas. Norwegians celebrate it all week with parties, family time and mountain hikes. A Norwegian Easter vacation offers plenty of opportunities for winter sports and good company. Most people have at least a week off so the possibilities are countless. Hotels, chalets and cabins are packed with people intent on having a good time, whatever the weather might be. It can be said that the entire country of Norway is shut down during the week of Easter in order to enjoy the holiday and the transition of seasons with family, friends and nature. Continue reading “Easter in Norway”